Wright v. Galetka

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Wright v. Galetka



Farrel E. Wright,
Petitioner and Appellant,


Hank Galetka, Warden,
Respondent and Appellee.

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 20010681-CA

(December 28, 2001)

2001 UT App 415



Third District, Salt Lake Department
The Honorable Stephen L. Henriod

Farrel E. Wright, Draper, Petitioner Pro Se
Mark Shurtleff and Sharel S. Reber, Salt Lake City, for Respondent


Before Judges Greenwood, Billings, and Davis.


Petitioner filed for extraordinary relief under Rule 65B(c) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, claiming that the Utah State Prison violated his constitutional rights by confiscating poetry written by petitioner and a folder entitled "Child Lures Prevention Program." Without holding a hearing, the district court dismissed the petition for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Petitioner claims the court erred in dismissing his petition.

Because the issue involved the trial court's interpretation of Rule 65B(c)(5), which allows the court to dismiss petitions which are frivolous on their face, the issue is a question of law, reviewed for correctness, affording no deference to the trial court. See Alvarez v. Galetka, 933 P.2d 987, 989 (Utah 1997); Lancaster v. Utah Bd. of Pardons, 869 P.2d 945, 947 (Utah 1994). Petitioner has failed to allege facts demonstrating that the prison failed to act as required by law. The prison relied on its policy to justify refusing to return these items. The policy states that any item not approved to be in the inmate's possession is considered contraband, which is to be confiscated. Petitioner must allege, on the pleadings, facts sufficient to support a claim before the court is obliged to hold a hearing. Petitioner has no constitutional right to possess the items that were confiscated. Further, the prison is afforded great deference in internal discipline and matters of institutional security. See Dunn v. White, 880 F.2d 1188, 1191 (1989).

For these reasons, the trial court correctly dismissed the petition for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The trial court's dismissal of the petition is affirmed.

Pamela T. Greenwood, Presiding Judge

Judith M. Billings, Judge

James Z. Davis, Judge